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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  December 12, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PST

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last word. the gentleman is recognized. >> i yield to the ranking member. >> the gentle lady from california misstieated somethin that i addressed head on last night. undersecretary stated this was perspective money, it was not interfering and dealing with this issue. for those of us who have been in a war, people die in a war zone. this money did not cause that. >> thank you, reclaiming my time. mr. chairman, the biggest difference in the clinton impeachment and this one is that president clinton committed a crime, perjury. this president isn't even accused of committing a crime. the constitution is pretty clear on what constitutes an impeachable defense, treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. it's not, or whatever else nancy pelosi and adam schiff deem impeachable. i think we can all agree that no president should abuse the powers of his or her office, just like the chairman of the house committee shouldn't abuse
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the powers of his office to obtain and publish the phone records of the president's personal attorney, a member of the media and the ranking member of that same committee. but that doesn't make alleged abuse of power a high crime or misdemeanor. in their newly authored memo on constitutional grounds for impeachment, the majority of this committee goes to great lengths to explain why abuse of power is an impeachable offense, mentioning it was one of the charges against richard nixon and bill clinton. what they don't mention is that the house of representatives has never adopted alleged abuse of power as a presidential im impeachment. abuse of power is a vague, ambiguous term open to the interpretation of every individual. because abuse of power lacks a concise legal definition, there's a higher burden of proof on those pursuing such a charge to show the actions that the
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president rise to the level of impeachment. i believed that bill clinton had abused of power of his office but we failed to convince our colleagues in the house and that particular charge was rejected by the full house. in this case, the evidence provided is less convincing. in fact, i'd argue it's nonexistent. first, there was no quid pro quo. second, it's a widely known in fact that ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries on the planet. it's why congress required the administration to certify that the ukrainian government had taken steps to clean up corruption before military aid could be provided to the country. president trump was well aware of that fact and quite skeptical of giving ukraine foreign aid long before the now famous july 25th phone call. third, ukraine actually received the aid after the president was satisfied that ukraine had taken meaningful steps to address corruption which again is an obligation required by law. based on the actual facts of this case as opposed to the hearsay and innuendo compiled by
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the intelligence committee, it's clear that no abuse of power ever took place and there certainly isn't enough evidence to support an article of impeachment. mr. chairman, as you know, there's another significant difference between the abuse of power charges against nixon and clinton and those presented here. in the nixon and clinton impeachments, abuse of power was a tacked on charge, far less important in those cases than the actual high crimes charged against both of them. here it's the main thrust of the house democrats' entire case. let me put it another way. the entire argument for impeachment in this case is based on a charge that is not a crime, much less a high crime, and that has never been approved by the house of representatives in a presidential impeachment before ever in history. if that's the best you got, you wasted a whole lot of time and taxpayer dollars all because so many of you, mr. chairman, hate
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this president. one last thing, i guess we now know why nancy pelosi was focus grouping bribery as a potential charge, because she was desperately searching for a crime, any crime, to justify this sham impeachment. that effort was abandoned because she knows most members of congress know and now the american people know there simply wasn't a crime committed here and there shouldn't be an impeachment here either. i yield back. >> will the gentleman yield -- >> mr. chairman. >> what purpose does mr mr. swalwell seek recognition? >> to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> there are no crimes here? that's the defense my colleagues across the aisle are putting forward? how about the highest crime that one who holds public office could commit, a crime against our constitution.
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after all, the constitution is the highest, most supreme law of the land. every other law, statutory laws included, derive from the constitution, not the other way around. the president committed the highest crime against the constitution by abusing his office. cheating in an election. inviting foreign interference for a purely personal gain while jeopardizing our national security and the tintegrity of our elections. after all, we in congress are not criminal prosecutors, we do not prosecute crimes. we protect the constitution. but since my colleagues keep bringing up what potential
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crimes you could charge a president with, let's go through some of them because president trump's conduct overlaps with criminal acts. let's start with criminal bribery. 18 u.s. code 201-b2a. criminal bribery occurs when a public official demands or seeks anything of value personally in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act. additionally, the public official must carry out these acts corruptly. demands or seeks, president trump demanded and sought the announcement and conduct of politically motivated investigations by president zelensky. anything of value personally, for the purposes of anti-bribely law, the phrase anything of value have been interpreted by the courts broadly to carry out the purpose of abuse of public office. in return for being influenced, the third requirement, as the intel report demonstrated,
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president trump sought an announcement of these investigations in return for performing two official acts. first, he conditioned release of vital military assistance on president zelensky's investigations, and second, he conditioned a head of state meeting on these investigations. fourth, performance of an official act. the courts defined an official act as any decision, action, matter, cause, pursuit, proceeding or controversy that may be pending or brought before a public official. both the military aid an the white house meeting meet this requirement. finally, corruptly. president trump behaved corruptly throughout this course of conduct because he used his official office in exchange to seek a private benefit. a second crime, honest services fraud. 18 u.s. code section 1346, president trump knowingly and willfully orchestrated a scheme to defraud the american people of his honest services as
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president of the united states. this has been aligned often in the courts with bribery, except it also includes using a wider communication. clearly the july -- >> will the gentleman yield for a question? >> i will not yield. clearly the july 25 phone call constitutes a wire communication. there you have it. at least two criminal statutory crimes. however, all of these conversations about statutory crimes are moot because the president of the united states refuses to allow his own department of justice to indict him. so the president may be charged with crimes stat toerl one day but that's not what we're doing here on this day and we are not restricted like the department of justice is so we will uphold our duty to charge the president with the crimes against the constitution that he has committed using your taxpayer dallas, jeopardizing the integrity of your vote for a
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purely political purpose and a purely personal gain. with that i would yield to the gentle lady from california. >> i appreciate the gentleman's recitation of those facts as a former prosecutor. you speak with tremendous thofrt. authority. i would like to note that the argument about lying about an a sexual affair is misuse of presidential power but the misuse of presidential power to get a benefit somehow doesn't matter. if it's lying about sex, we could put stormy daniels' case ahead of us. we don't believe that's a high crime -- >> the gentle woman yield. >> no, and it is not before us and it should not be before us because it's not an abuse of presidential power. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time is expired.
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>> will the gentleman yield briefly? >> the gentleman has the time. does the gentleman wish to yield? >> will the gentleman yield briefly? >> yes. >> the important thing is that bill clinton lied to a grand jury. that is a crime. the article of impeachment that passed the house accused bill clinton of lying to a grand jury, a crime, and something that obstructs the ability of the courts to get to the truth. this is not what is happening here. big difference. >> thank you. >> reclaiming my time. >> the gentleman reclaims his time. >> it is interesting though, we're here because of fraud, not by the president but from within the department of justice. i realize people on the other side of the aisle have been so busy trying to find some kind of criminal charge to bring geagait
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the president, none of which worked. they may not have been aware of the most recent horowitz report, but it is clear now that the whole investigation that has brought us here with crime after crime being alleged and then having to be dropped was a fraudulent effort before the fisa court to have a surveillance warrant done against carter page. they lied initially, said that he was a russian agent when actually he had been used by the cia as a spy against russia. so they lied. it was fraudulent and there hopefully will be people that will answer for their crimes and their fraud in the department of justice in the days to come and it sounds like that should be the case. there was fraud all the way through, but for three years we had been hearing about the crimes of the candidate trump
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and then the crimes of president trump, and we come now today based on the initial fraud that got this whole impeachment stuff started. and no one on the other side is willing to acknowledge the fraud that brought us here, nor the fact that so many people here have been screaming about the president's crimes, and we're even hearing today like we just did, oh, yes, there were crimes. then why aren't they in this impeachment document? it's because they don't exist. they've been disproven over and over and over again, and that's why the gentleman's amendment is so well taken. you don't want to go down this ground. i think it's a bad idea when it was proposed before. high crimes and misdemeanors, if it's not treason -- even m
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misdemeanors are crimes. we had to drop it all. people saying here and in the public, gee, we're going to get the president because he colluded with russia, how terrible was that. well, that's all been disproved and dropped. now we're left with bribery and extortion and now we're even -- those had to be dropped because there were no crimes and i appreciate the gentleman bringing up crimes but those are not alleged here. let me just say, this is a day that will live in infamy for the judiciary committee. the days of exemplary chairs like daniel webster when he stood for principle, those are going to be gone because this became a tool of the majority to try to defeat -- use taxpayer funds to defeat a president. by the way, the ken starr report, 36 boxes, he came in and testified. we were kept out of hearing the
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witnesses. in watergate, these witnesses testified on television. it was public. it was not a starr chamber like the schiff chamber became. i would like to yield the reminder of my time to mr. jordan. >> when did it all happen? why isn't it in the resolution? democrats say there's some scheme to have an announcement made by president zelensky to get a phone call with the president to get a meeting with the president and to get the aid released. when did the announcement happen? they got the call on july 25. they got the meeting on september 25. they got the money on september 11. there was never an announcement from the ukrainians to do an investigation. so you can keep saying all this stuff and all the points that this happened, this happened. it didn't happen, not the facts. we know why the aid got released, because we learned
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that the new guy was the real deal and was going to are deal with corruption in his country. you can make up all the things you want but those are not the facts. >> the gentleman's time expired. >> let's actually go through the facts. we're here today because the president abused his power. we're here today because he solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election. he had welcomed foreign interference as it relates to russia. he solicited foreign interference on the white house lawn with china, and he did it with ukraine. he's a serial solicitor. let's go through the facts. congress allocated $391 million in military aid on a bipartisan basis to ukraine, currently at war with russian-backed separatists in the east. ukraine is a friend.
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russia is a foe. ukraine is a democracy. russia is a dictatorship. the united states is probably the only thing standing between vladimir putin and ukraine being completely overrun as part of putin's fantasy to reconstruct the soviet union which would be averse to the national security interests of the united states and every fact witness before this congress said so. you can't even dispute that. so we allocated aid on a bipartisan basis. then the aid was withheld. so the american people deserve to figure out why. in february there was a letter sent by the trump administration saying, okay, the aid is on the way. but it never arrived. in april he had a phone call, the president, with zelensky. the word corruption was not mentioned once. and then in may the department
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of defense wrote to this congress and said all necessary preconditions for the receipt of the aid have been met by the new ukrainian government including the implementation of anti-corruption protocols. we have that letter. it was sent to you and it was sent to us. then in july, on the 18th, at an office of management and budget meeting, the aid was officially frozen at the direction of the president. twice during the summer mitch mcconnell, the senate republican majority leader, publicly stated he called the trump administration, what happened to the aid? mitch mcconnell couldn't get a good answer. because there was no good answer. then on july 25 there's another call between president trump and
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president zelensky. the word corruption is not mentioned once. here's what was said. zelensky talks about defense. the immediate response is, do us a favor though. president trump says, i need you to look into some things, not related to procurement of defense arms but related to a wild conspiracy theory connected to the 2016 campaign and also says i want you to look into joe bid biden. then what's interesting, since you think it was such a perfect call, he mentions rudolph giuliani, i'm looking at the transcript right now, not once, not twice, but three times. why on an official call would the president mention rudolph giuliani. he's not an ambassador. he's not the secretary of state.
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he's not a a member of the diplomatic core. he's president trump's political enforcer. then what happens? you said you want to talk about the facts. in august, giuliani travels to madrid and meets with the ukrainian government as a followup to trump saying to ukraine go meet with giuliani. then a statement is drafted by this phony investigation and sent to the ukrainians, but what happens? in august the whistle-blower complaint is filed. then on september 9 the whistle-blower complaint is made public to congress. two days later, on september 11, all of a sudden the aid is released. why was the aid released? because the president was caught red-handed trying to pressure a foreign government to target an american citizen. i yield back.
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>> the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does mr. gates seek recognition? >> strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> there were five meetings that we have detailed that show why the aid was released. there was a belief on the administration previously that ukraine was one of the most corrupt countries in the world, that they had not engaged in sufficient reforms, and after a number of events with the vice president, with a bipartisan senate delegation, there was a resolution of that aid. but this debate just lacks a certain sincerity. i heard earlier mr. swalwell list out all these crimes. if i'm watching at home i'm thinking, well, where are they in the impeachment? that is just a democrat drive-by, to go and list crimes that you don't allege and that you don't have evidence for. if there is ever a microcosm of how to consume this day and the importance of it with the american people, it's that they're naming crimes in debate that they don't even have in their impeachment resolution because they can't prove them,
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because there are no underlying facts. then i hear my friend from new york, mr. jeffries, bring up russia, the residue of impeachment hearings passed and failed. how are we even here debating about military aid, javelins, that president trump delivered that president obama withheld? i hear them crying these alligator tears, clutching their pearls over this notion that trump didn't give this aid, we got to impeach him for it. where was all this concern when obama was president? you want to know our substantive defense? it's four things. they've never changed. i think mr. jordan dreams of them in his sleep. both president trump and president zelensky said there was no pressure. we saw the call transcript and there's no conditionality. there was never awareness on the part of the ukraine that there was a delay in aid. and the ukraine got the aid without opening the investigation that seems to be so troubling to democrats. everything you're going to hear
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them say today can be pretty much categorized into three areas. first, it's either stuff people presumed and had no direct evidence of, kind of their water cooler theory of the case. second, it's hearsay. somebody told somebody told somebody else that created some concern about the president's conduct. or, it is reflective of a sincere policy, this agreement about how to make the ukraine great again. i heard all these folks come by their part of the diplomatic core and they seem to believe that we ought do everything for the ukraine but if the president disagrees with that it is not impeachable conduct. essentially they're alleging a shakedown but i think most americans know that you cannot have a shakedown if the person allegedly being shook down doesn't even know about the shakedown. you have president zelensky himself saying i felt no pressure. and then, talk about bad timing, we got this "time" article that comes out on the 10th of december because their theory of
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the case is, well, even if zelensky didn't know there was pressure, there's this other guy, yermack, and yermack knew from gordan sondland that there was pressure, but the same day that they introduced their articles of impeachment, yermack gives this interview with "time" magazine and says, and i quote, gordon and i were never alone together. we bumped each each other as i was walking out and i remember everything. we talked about how well the meeting went. that is all we talked about. so here they are with no crime, with no victim, with no witnesses, with no knowledge of any shakedown, and yet they proceed. to accept the democrats' theory of the case, you got to believe that the ukrainians are lying to us, when they say there's no conditionality, no pressure, nothing wrong, that they're so weak and so dependent on the united states that we can't believe a word they say. again, where were you during the obama administration when this
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weak ally didn't get javelins that were then withheld. i support the jordan amendment because this article one, this abuse of power that they allege in the impeachment theory is a total joke. they have to say abuse of power because they don't have evidence for obstruction. they have to say abuse of power because they have no evidence for bribery or treason. they have to say abuse of power because all those specific crimes that the gentleman from california named cannot be supported by the evidence. this is sort of the rorschach ink blot of impeachment so everybody can stare at the ink blot and see what they want to see. this notion of abuse of power is the lowest of low energy impeachment theories. heck, i don't know any political party that doesn't think when the other side is in the white house that they abuse power, they do too much. i got a lot of constituents that think that barack obama abused his power, but you know what, we didn't do this to the country.
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we didn't put them through this nonsense and this impeachment. you all set the standard. we didn't set it. you said this would have to be bipartisan, compelling, and overwhelming. it ain't that. and this looks pretty bad. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in response -- >> strike the last word? >> yes, move to strike the last word. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> in response to my colleague from florida, you cannot argue things both ways. you cannot say that the president was so concerned about ukraine that he released aid, which is true, he released aid in 2017. he released aid in 2018, and then suddenly he became concerned in 2019 right after vice president biden announced that he was going to run. so if your argument is that he was so concerned about ukraine that he released aid in 2017 and
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2018, then why in 2019 after the department of defense cleared ukraine on charges of corruption, why then did he decide he was so concerned about corruption that he was not going to release aid? >> because -- >> i'm sorry, i'm not yielding. i'm not yielding. i am not yielding. >> they got a new president, that's why. >> the gentle lady has the time. people will be in order and people will not interrupt. that is not proper here. the gentle lady will continue. >> thank you, mr. chairman. they got a new president who was known to be an anti-corruption fighter, so that argument has no weight whatsoever. now, if you want to argue that the president was so concerned about corruption at that particular moment you have to look at the whole record of u.s. policy and our agreement that the department of defense would look under certain conditions before they released military aid to determine whether or not
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a country had satisfied those requirements around corruption and the department of defense released that report. nowhere between the time that donald trump withheld aid and the time that he released that aid was there an additional assessment required or done. in fact, the department of defense decided they didn't need to do another assessment because they had already done the assessment. so at the end of the day i have only two questions for my colleagues on the other side and these are the two questions. forget about president trump. forget about president trump. will any one of my colleagues on the other side say that it is an abuse of power to condition aid, to condition aid on official acts, forget about president trump. forget about president trump. is any one of my colleagues
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willing to say that it is ever okay for a president of the united states of america to invite foreign interference in our elections? not a single one of you has said that so far. >> i'll say it. >> i yield to my colleague from texas. >> will the gentle lady yield so we can answer the question? >> yeah, i'll be glad to answer it. she asked it. >> the gentle lady has the time -- >> she asked us a question. >> the members know perfectly well it is out of order to interrupt members who have the time. >> unless they ask you a question. >> the gentle lady has yielded to whom? >> she asked us a question. >> the gentle lady yielded to whom? ms. escobar now has the time. >> thank you, chairman. thank you, representative. i want to break this down in simple terms for the american public because our republican colleagues are working overtime to try to convince us that we
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didn't see what we saw with our own eyes and we didn't hear what we heard with our own ears. let's bring it down to an example that was used during the hearing. if a governor -- if a community suffers a natural disaster and the governor of the state has aid that will help that community but calls the mayor of your community and says, i want you to do me a favor though, and conditions giving the aid to the community on the police chief smearing his political opponent, has there been a crime, the answer is yes. and that governor would go to jail. if that governor later releases the aid after he got caught, it doesn't matter. he still committed the crime. furthermore, if that governor says during the investigation, i'm going to defy the subpoenas, we're going to fight the
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subpoenas, guess what would happen to that governor. he's committed a crime. he would go to jail. is it the sd if the governor then tried to cover up his wrongdoing so that his people couldn't see his wrongdoing, what would happen to that governor? did he commit a crime? yes. he would go to jail. so as wildly as they're trying to convince you that there was no wrongdoing, i want the american public to understand what is going on here. it's clear as day. we've seen it with our own eyes. we've heard it with our own ears. facts matter. i yield back. >> thank you, ms. escobar. i would just again close with this single question. is it ever okay for a president to condition official action on personal gain? i yield back. >> mr. chairman.
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mr. chairman. >> who seeks recognition? for what purpose? >> unanimous consent request. i'd like to ask anonymous consent to introduce into the record -- >> i cannot hear you, sir. >> i'd like to introduce -- ask anonymous consent to introduce into the record the transcript of the call where the president says i would like you to do us a favor. >> without objection the transcript will be introduced. >> i seek to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to address mr mr. swalwell's -- thank you for coming back -- mr. swalwell's comments that there are definitely crimes. first of all, i believe mr. swalwell during the mueller investigation went on national tv and said something to the affects effect of an indictment is coming. he knew it, an indictment is
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coming. i know mr. swalwell knows crimes. he was a prosecutor. he also knows the obligation that a prosecutor has not to bring a crime, not a bring a charge unless there's reasonable probability of conviction. i would direct mr. swalwell to the elements of bribery, whoever being a public official krupts or demands or seeks personally anything of value in person for being influenced in the performance of an official act, the department of justice's criminal division public integrity section opines that something as nebulous as an investigation is not of sufficient concrete value to constitute something of value under this statute. also, the other element at question here and one of the reasons i think that we need more than one week as the committee of jurisdiction to look into this matter is because if there are crimes we should be bringing experts.
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we should be bringing in testimony. if there is a crime, i think it is far more fair to charge a -- to pass articles of impeachment on a president where the president can defend against specific elements as opposed to something as vegague as abuse o power. mr. swalwell, the official act that you talk about under the mcconnell -- supreme court's mcconnell decision, that decision says setting up a meeting, talking to another official or organizing an event without more does not fit the definition of official act. there are two elements missing in your analysis. but that doesn't surprise me because there were no elements that were -- that the special counsel found in this situation. i think that it is unfortunate when the gentleman from rhode island talks about the president sending mr. giuliani to the
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ukraine to smear, to smear vice president biden, let's talk about what vice president biden did. his son sat on a board and made an outrageous amount of money for someone that had no background in energy, no background in the ukraine while his father was the vice president. if that is not a fair topic for discussion in the world of politics, i don't know what is. smearing is trying to conjure up false information or making a vague argument based on false information. this isn't smearing. this is seeking the truth about corruption. not a single member on the other side of the aisle has been willing to condemn the conduct of the former vice president how frustrating it must be to be president trump and have your son spend over a million dollars
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on attorneys' fees when the special counsel is investigating something that never happened. there was no collusion. there was no conspiracy between russia and the trump campaign, but there was clear -- there is clear evidence of wrongdoing between hunter biden, the former vice president, joe biden -- >> would the gentleman yield? >> no, i will not. and the ukraine and the corporation burisma. so the idea that there was a smear going on, let's look at the facts, and i will yield to my friend in arizona. >> thank you very much. let's talk about what was going on in 2017, 2018 and 2019, there was a pause put on aid. you have a new administration in the ukraine and the anti-corruption benchmarks were done under the previous administration, poroshenko. that was testified to in this committee. we know that several of the
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previous corrupt administrators and cabinet level officials including some oligarchs have close relationships to zelensky. there was a concern whether mr. zelensky was the real deal. the aid was prospective and the pause was unknown. the u.s. officials continued to meet with ukrainian officials and determined that zelensky was the real deal and made every effort to convince president trump that that was the case. once two new anti-corruption measures were released within two days, so was the funding. that's what changed. yield back. >> mr. chairman, unanimous consent request -- >> what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> request for a vox 2019 article, all of robert mueller's indictments, including the 34 people and three companies that he indicted in his lengthy investigation. >> without objection. >> i object. i want to see it.
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i'll reserve it. >> the gentleman reserves an objection. he wants to see it. that's fair. thaler seek? >> i move to strike the last word and yield to my friend and colleague from florida. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. i just got to come back to this interview with yermack because it's like the tree that fell in the forest that nobody heard that completely demolished the entire democratic case. they have no evidence that the ukrainians ever knew that this aid was withheld. so they're literally trying to prosecute an impeachment against the president for a shakedown when the alleged people being shook down, one, said they felt no pressure, and two, did not even know it was happening. time and again you heard them in debate, in press conferences and the whole circus show that's going on here say, well, we've got this testimony from gordan
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sondland -- we all remember glo glo gordon -- wandering his way to an escalator with a guy who speaks english as a second language and gordon says, well, maybe i said something to him about this. that was the whole deal for them. then, you talk about embarrassing, the same day that they introduced their articles of impeachment that we knew they were going to introduce one way or another the moment they took the majority, it comes out that yermack denies the whole thing. show me the ukrainian that was pressured. show me the ukrainian that knew that any of this was tied to any condition conditionality. there's no conditionality in the call. so it's quite easy to answer the gentle lady from washington's question, very easy. in this case, there is no conditionality. you can't prove it. you have no evidence of it. frankly, even the ukrainians,
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even your purported victims are coming out in the press and saying their theory of the case is wrong. their fundamental premise has been rejected. i yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> yes, i yield to my friend from ohio. >> exactly what changed is we got a brand new president who ran -- zelensky ran on anti-corruption. let's see if he's the real deal. that's exactly what happened in the 55 days the aid was paused. we talked about five critical meetings that took place, five meetings. the last one i think is the most important because you have a democrat senator and a republican senator meet with president zelensky in kyiv. they knew the aid had been paused at that time. the ukrainians learned a few days before that and the issue never came up. what did come up is both of these senators came back and said this guy is the real deal, worth the risk, worth sending the hard earned tax dollars of
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the american people to ukraine. that is what happened and the facts are very clear. you can make up all the stuff you want but the facts are on the president side and have always been on the president's side. democrats keep saying to get the call, the meeting, the money, there had to be an announcement. it's december 12th. there is yet to be an announcement from ukraine about any type of investigation into burisma or the bidens yet, because it's not going to happen because its never needed to happen. that wasn't the point. but they got the call july 25. they got the meeting september 25 and they got the money 1e september 11. the other thing i want to proponepoint out, i don't know how many times i heard the democrats talk about the one famous sentence in the president's call to president zelensky, i would like you to do us a favor though. your star witness who was here last week, she talked about this
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being the royal we. she read the sentence the way you guys tried to portray the sentence, she said it said i would like you to do me a favor though. that's not what it says. it says i would like you to do us a favor though because -- and guess what the next two words are. it says because our country, not i. he doesn't say i want you to do me a favor because i've been through a lot. very clear, i would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and that is the understatement of the year. heck yeah, our country has been through a lot. this is the day after bob mueller sat in front of this committee and we learned the there was nothing there but two years he put our country through turmoil because of you guys. at the end of this paragraph he references bob mueller. that's what he's talking about. heck yeah our country had been through a lot and the president
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was ticked about it and wanted to find out what was going on. that's very legitimate, working on behalf of the american people. but as i said last night, you guys don't respect the 63 million people who voted for this guy. that's why the speaker of the house called the president an imposter. that's what's wrong. i would like you to do us a favor because our country has been through a lot. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does mr. johnson seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i just want to slow this down and be very methodical because most of us are attorneys and we're supposed to be finders of fact and supposed to carefully and objectively analyze the claims against the record so let's do that. there are two articles to this impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. on the first, democrats know there is zero evidence to show
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that president trump engaged of any scheme or that he intended with his dealings with ukraine to influence the 2020 election. no impeachment should ever proceed on the basis of hearsay and conjecture and speculation that wouldn't even be admissible in a local traffic court. to my friend ms. jayapal, there is no evidence of any condition and i guess i need to repeat the four indisputable facts in this record because repetition is apparently necessary here. first, both the president and zelensky say there was no pressure exerted. number two, the july 25 call transcript shows no conditionality between funding and investigation. three, ukraine was not aware of the aid being delayed. number four, they never opened an investigation, still received the aid and got the meeting. our colleagues keep misrepresenting the facts. not only do they misrepresent the do me a favor versus do us a
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favor, but only three people listened in on the call. contrary to the assertions we've heard this morning, they didn't provide firsthand testimony of what happened on the call. all three of the testimonies continued indict contradicted each other. the evidence shows that president trump holds a deep-seated and reasonable skepticism have ukraine due to its history of corruption. the president sought that the newly elected president is a reformer. president trump wanted to ensure that the american taxpayer-funded security assistance would not be squandered by what hash reported as the third most corrupt nation in the world before zelensky, and the discussions they had were never about what happened or what will happen in 2020 but what happened in 2016. the second claim of this resolution is that the president obstructed congress but he
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simply did what virtually every other president in the modern era has also done. what's his big infraction? he asserted a legitimate executive privilege and legal immunity to request subpoenas issued to various white house officials. there's no evidence of any impeachable conduct. it's commonplace. the natural impasse that exists between the executive and legislative branches in our constitutional system has been easily and calmly resolved either by good faith negotiation or a simple filing with the third branch of our government, the judicial branch. in spite of their allegations here democrats know president trump has lawful cause to challenge those subpoenas in this matter. house democrats are trying to impeach president trump for seeking judicial review over whether the direct communications between high ranking advisers and a president under these circumstances are privileged or should be
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disclosed. that could be would be expedited in the courts. it wouldn't take that long, but democrats said they don't have time for that. why? because they promised their base an impeachment by christmas. this whole thing is absurd. it should be noted that president trump has consistently cooperated with congress in fulfilling its over sight and investigation spots herresponsi here. at the start of the impeachment inquiry the white house produced more than 100,000 pages of documents to the oversight committee and quickly declassified and produced to everyone the call transcript. democrats know this is an absurd charge about obstruction and the truth is in the history of the republic there's never been a single party fraudulent impeachment process deployed against a president like the one being used against donald trump. they're the ones seeking to nullify our vital constitutional safeguards with a sham. their objective is to nullify the votes of the 63 million americans who voted to elect
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donald trump the president. they violated due process and all the rest. my colleague, sheila jackson lee, evoked and quoted barbara jordan but she said during the watergate inquiry, impeachment quadrupl quadrupled. this impeachment is going to fail and the democrats will pay a heavy political price for it but the pandora's box they've opened will do irreparable damage to our country in the years ahead. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> mr. chairman, i move to strike the last word. >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i'm opposed to this amendment. it's incredible to me that the other side of the aisle has not seen the facts and has not apparently read some of the evidence before us. it is obvious to me that this president has put his personal
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interests above this country, and with that i'll yield back to the gentleman from maryland. >> rhode island. >> oh, rhode island. >> i thank the gentle lady for yielding. we've just heard our republican colleagues claim that there was no demand, no conditionality for the release of this aid and in fact it was motivated by this president's deep desire to ferret out corruption. that is laughable. the president of the united states had two phone calls with president zelensky. he never once even uttered the word corruption because it wasn't about corruption and the reason we know that is the department of defense had already certified that steps had been taken to combat corruption back on may 23 and despite that certification that hold remained in place. in fact, the professionals testified about them trying to
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figure out how is it possible it's legal to hold this aid, because the certification happened and there's no basis to hold it other than the president ordered it. so it's not about corruption. it was about extracting a commitment to announce publicly that they were launching an investigation of president trump's chief political rival, a smear against vice president biden. so this notion that really what happened is the president just satisfied himself that mr. zelensky was for real is nonsense and betrayed by all the evidence collected. let me remind you of it because you apparently don't remember it. ambassador sondland testified under oath, mr. giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a white house visit for president zelensky. mr. giuliani demanded that ukraine -- mr. giuliani by the way, the president's counsel. he demanded that ukraine make a public statement announcing the
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investigation of the 2016 election, the dnc server and burisma. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states and we knew these investigations were important to the president. on the july 25 call president zelensky himself recognized the connection between the meeting and the investigation. he said i also want to thank you for your invitation to visit the united states, specifically washington d.c. oefr i also want to ensure you that we'll be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation, and the president spoke on that call about the bidens and burisma. the omb ultimately announces that aid was being withheld and all the national security team recommended the release of the aid. this is an important ally of the united states facing an active war with the russians that took part of their country and has killed people in eastern ukraine. american military aid was a life line for this emerging
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democracy. you know the only people who benefitted from this scheme? president trump because he thought he was going to get an announcement to smear his political poopponent, and vladir putin who was trying to weaken the ukrainians. there was recent article that said president zelensky facing president putin all alone. so this benefitted russia, weakening ukraine. but this notion that the reason that the aid was released because the president was satisfied is defied in the report by the intelligence committee. it was released because the president got caught. the whistle-blower filed report, a complaint alleging an elaborate scheme by the president that betrayed the national interests of the country, undermined our national security, that advanced the personal political interests of the president, not the national interests of our country, that attempted to corrupt our
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elections by dragging in foreign interference. it's the highest of high crimes and misdemeanors. our framers spoke about this abuse of power, abusing the office of the presidency to advance your own personal interests and to undermine the public interest. i'll yield to mr. rasken. >> i yield to mr. rasken. >> thank you very much. just to flesh out the detail from what the gentleman from right si rd rd w rhode island, one of the depositions was with someone who was with gordan sondland who testified there was a quid pro quo but he saw him on the phone with president trump and he reported right at that time to him. he said the president doesn't give a blank about ukraine. he's interested in the big stuff. what's the big stuff? whatever can benefit him. >> the gentleman yields back.
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for what purpose does mr. biggs seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> last night and today we've heard my colleagues on the other side saying the facts are not contest contested, but they really are. an exam is one just pointed out, highlighted from my colleague from louisiana just a moment ago. on the telephone call, of the 17 witnesses that came in, only three actually listened in on the phone call. each one of them have contradictory testimony. so even the three witnesses that heard the call conflicted. and why is that important? why did i bring that up? i bring it up because of this, many of my colleagues, in fact, most of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle take every inference in the light most negative to the president of the united states. that's because there's an animus
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there that has been manifested since november 9, 2016, the day after he was elected. so having watched this procedure closely on the heels of the other procedures in the attempts to impeach this president and investigate, i am left wondering, you want every inference to go against the president. why should the american public give you any inference of credibility? the reality is when my colleague from california said -- was talking about the russian issue, not a single american was indicted for conspiring with russia to influence the elections, not one. he still believes there was some kind of collusion with the trump campaign. what do the facts actually get to? when my colleague just talked about the money was released, the aid was released, again he takes this inference based on a
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timeline and he's citing rank hearsay. i guy says, i overheard this conversation, sitting on a patio at a restaurant, lots of people, but boy, i could hear everything. i knew what was said. i was so concerned about it, i didn't tell anybody. i came in once this really got going and revved up. you want to take every inference against the president. why should we give you any inference of credibility. the only direct evidence in this case remains the same after all this time. no pressure. no pressure on the phone call. mr. zelensky has said that pree repeatedly. he spent one press conference talking all day long about no pressure, there was no pressure. yermack said there was no
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pressure. are they lying? no. but we know the whistle-blower was lying. we know that mr. schiff was lying. mr. schiff came out the day before and said eight times the president put direct pressure on the ukrainians. oops, the transcript is released, not true. that would be the facts being contested, absolutely. we know there was no conditionality. everybody said there's no conditionality, everybody that participated, everybody that listened. ukraine was unaware of the hold so how can you leverage them if they were unaware of the hold and there was never any investigation. but what happened? what triggered it? you have high ranking officials going to the ukraine, meeting with them, convinced the president. you have the president of the ukraine signing two pieces of legislation, reinstituting the anti-corruption tribunal and removing immunity from prosecution of the legislative
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branch in the ukraine. significant anti-corruption measures worthy, worthy of convincing this president that, yes, they're worth a chance. so with that, you have nothing. your credibility is in tatters quite frankly. i yield to my friend from colorado. >> i thank my friend for yielding and i want to ask my friends on the other side, mr. sondland, ambassador sondland is your star witness? really? you're basing an impeachment on ambassador sondland's testimony? his first statement, his first deposition, he said 325 times, i don't remember, i don't know, i'm not sure, 325 times. you don't think when this gets over to the senate that he's going to be impeached on all the things he didn't remember? then, then, his testimony impeached, not his office. i see the smirk. then what does he do? he reads and he listens to what
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ambassador taylor says that he knows and what ambassador yovanovitch says that he knows and what all these people say that he knows and then his memory is refreshed. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. what purpose does mr. radcliffe seek recognition? >> move to strike the last word. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i want to respond to my good friend congressman sis aileen's comments when he said that president trump's demand can't be explained by corruption because the word corruption is never uttered anywhere in the transcript. the problem with that is that the democrats have built this entire fake impeachment scheme around an alleged demand. guess what word is not anywhere in the transcript, demand. nowhere in that transcript does the president make a demand.
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do you know where the word demand came from? from the whistle-blower. that's the first time we heard the word demand, when he notified the inspector general for the intelligence community. he said president trump made a demand. he thought he could do that because he thought no one would be able to prove because what presidential would take the unprecedented step of releasing a transcript with a foreign leader. this president did, something that the whistle-blower never expected. president trump, we keep hearing, got caught. president trump, we keep hearing, is obstructing justice. the president that took the unprecedented step of releasing a transcript so that everyone could see the truth is not obstructing congress. the president didn't get caught. the whistle-blower got caught. the whistle-blower made false
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statements. the whistle-blower got caught with chairman schiff. remember chairman schiff, the person that the democrats instead of the house judiciary committee which spent a full week on this, that's not who's been in charge. the person they put in charge was the person that got caught with the whistle-blower. have you spoken directly with the whistle-blower? no, we have not. we'd like to. that wasn't true. the person that said he had evidence of the first fake impeachment scam, collusion with russia, had evidence of that collusion and didn't have it. the person who in the course of that read into the record the steele dossier because the people needed to know the truth about what happened. well, we heard about the truth about the steele dossier this week when the inspector general told us it was all garbage, rubbish, all made up, yeah, that chairman schiff, and now he got caught not being


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